School Building Leaders & School District Leaders

School Building Leader & School District Leader


The Summer Principals Academy at Teachers College, Columbia University is a transformative graduate program committed to promoting equity and excellence in urban education leadership and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in our country.  To achieve this goal, our aspiring school leaders are encouraged to construct transforming possibilities for student learning, school design, social equity, and opportunity.  While some principal preparation programs prepare school leaders who perpetuate schools as they currently exist, SPA strives to prepare leaders who will create the innovative schools that our nation and students need.

SPA NYC enrolls two cohorts and over 100 graduate students each year in a rigorous 14 month, 36-credit program.  Depending on their previous academic experiences, our students pursue the MA or EdM degree, as well as initial School Building Leader certification. Cohorts meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00 am - 7 pm in an intensive, five-week session for two consecutive summers.  The 450-hour Administrative Internship takes place during the intervening school year, thereby enabling students to complete internship requirements while maintaining their positions at their schools.  Our schedule supports the reality of aspiring leaders who are working teachers, team leaders, department chairs, and/or supervisors seeking the benefits of a competitive program without the disruption of time away from their school communities and students.

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Teachers College has been a leader in the field of educational administration, having awarded the earliest doctorates in the field, graduating generations of leaders for districts and schools around the nation, and producing seminal research on educational finance, governance and other topics.

The mission of the current Education Leadership Program is to prepare scholars and practitioners whose work will lead and transform education, especially in urban school systems and other contexts serving marginalized and disadvantaged students.

The Education Leadership Program has developed the Urban Education Leaders Program (formerly known as Inquiry in Education Leadership Practice) to be consistent with the social justice mission of the College. Recognizing that education can transform the lives of individuals, communities, and society, and that inspired, capable leaders are crucial to education, the Urban Education Leaders Program seeks to prepare a new generation of improvement-focused leaders for school systems and schools, especially to serve where reform is needed the most and where leadership can make a significant difference. Urban Education Leaders Program graduates will lead the way toward equity and social justice in schooling and will ensure quality learning and healthy development for all students, by using their knowledge, skills, and values to guide and support teaching and learning and to manage and lead educational organizations and systems effectively. 

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